Message from Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony on World No Tobacco Day 2023

Guyana joins the rest of the world to observe World No Tobacco Day, under the theme “Grow Food, Not Tobacco.” Every year, on May 31, Ministries of Health and other health agencies utilise this period to raise awareness of the harmful use of tobacco on humans and their environments. 

According to the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), Guyana is a developing nation where 78% of all deaths are caused by Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), strongly linked to tobacco use.

The World Bank states that the prevalence of tobacco use among adults in Guyana stood at 12.1 per cent in 2020. In addition, over one million people die from second-hand smoke exposure every year. 

This year, the Ministry of Health is doing its part by launching Tobacco Cessation Clinics across the country, the first of which will be at the Industry Health Centre. At these clinics, healthcare professionals will offer Brief Tobacco Interventions using the 5 As method (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist and Arrange).

Other Centres where this service will be provided include Festival City Health Centre, North East La Penitence Health Centre, East La Penitence Health Centre, Grove Health Centre, Craig Health Centre, Buxton Health Centre, Enmore Health Centre, Den Amstel Health Centre, Kitty Health Centre and David Rose Health Centre.

One of the recommendations from the “Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programmes” published by the CDC in 2014, is for all healthcare systems, clinics, hospitals, dental offices, pharmacies and emergency departments to ask, advise and refer patients to evidence-based tobacco treatment. In this way, we have an opportunity to provide treatment or referral to evidence-based tobacco cessation services.

On this World No Tobacco Day, I take this opportunity to encourage everyone to stay informed on the dangers of tobacco and its by-products.  I am hopeful that through education and continued public awareness, we can create a tobacco-free generation.  I charge you to become champions for health and “Say No To Smoking”. Together, we can curb the tobacco epidemic and reduce incidents of mortality rate caused by this product. 

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